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I am not particularly religious, don’t go to church, and neither does hubby, but I feel the need to start explaining the concept of God to my two. If only because they seem fascinated by what goes on in churches (they have never been to a service) and I think they should have some idea about it before they start school. Every time I try, though, I seem to dig myself into a hole. Today this resulted in them telling me really loudly, in public, that God was dead. Luckily I don’t think anyone overheard to be offended. Can anyone suggest a simple way of explaining this concept to children from a non-religious background. I wondered if there were any picture books anyone knew that might help?
The awesome book of bible answers for kids on amazon is quite good. Not suggesting you start going to church but mine love going to Sunday school which is held while the service is on, they go to the family services and seem to have a nice time with the other kids there. Even though my husband is a Christian (i am a bit of a fence sitter at the moment) I also do say to them if it comes up that not everyone believes in God or at least the Christian God but as they are only 7 and 5 still I don’t want to get things to complicated for them so think I will leave Zen Buddhism until they are a bit older
We are atheists, humanists, as a family. We do not believe in the concept of God, however realise it is a very big deal for a lot of people and so loosely address it. For us, we explain it is a story that some people choose to include in their lives. And that for these people its a very real story and to respect their opinions. (Obviously not in so many words as my daughter is just 3.5!) I would hope my daughter harbours respect for humankind, regardless of difference in view points. However, as atheists ourselves,it feels wrong to us to indulge her in somethat isn’t real for us. Keeping the balance between neutral and our own opinions can be tricky, as ultimately she will decide for herself what she feels comfortable believeing to be true. I’m not sure that helps!
How about starting with the Greek myths? There are some very good retellings available and they give you a good introduction into the story aspect of the bible. My favourite, which I’ve mentioned before on here, is ‘Atticus the Storyteller’s Hundred Greek Myths’.
growing green by baby steps
What Gem said.
Thanks for the replies. I think I am overthinking this as usual! I will just let the idea drip feed naturally into their consciousness. I think what I was struggling with was how to explain ‘God’ so that they had a mental picture they could understand. I guess this is something theologians find tricky too!
In my opinion, there is little to explain a child about these issues, because beyond the concept of a God created by Man, in any case, you can believe or intuit that there is “something” beyond the material. And if a child raises some of that, he or she does it intuitively, not intellectually.